Topeka: Jack Beckman preview

BECKMAN EYEING REBOUND IN TOPEKA NORTH HILLS, Calif. (May 28, 2008) - Jack Beckman is ready to see the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T rebound at this weekend's NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, where a semifinal...

BECKMAN EYEING REBOUND IN TOPEKA

NORTH HILLS, Calif. (May 28, 2008) - Jack Beckman is ready to see the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T rebound at this weekend's NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, where a semifinal finish in 2007 kicked off a string of successes which led to back-to-back victories and a steady move up the rankings. He landed a berth in the battle for the Countdown to Four, finishing his first full Funny Car season in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series in fifth place.

This season he enters the Topeka event following two straight DNQs after one victory in the first eight events. Beckman is not discouraged. With 21-car tight Funny Car fields this season, several other top contenders have also failed to qualify. Last year, Beckman suffered two DNQs before the Topeka event, yet moved into second in the standings by the 19th event of 23 that year.

"Usually I say how exciting it is to go to the next track," said Beckman, who is No. 11 in points, just seven markers out of the top 10. "And Kansas is cool because it's the birthplace of NHRA's national-event schedule, but the excitement I've got, along with a little bit of anxiety, is we are starting to get our Valvoline/MTS Dodge back on the track that it needs to be on. We're just a step off right now.

"We tested on Monday in Bristol, after the event two weeks ago. In fact, I tested my car and (DSR teammate Gary) Scelzi's car and the results were positive, but it wasn't under national-event conditions against 19 other Funny Cars. So, everybody on the crew is smart enough to realize that one race is not going to put us exactly where we want to be.

"But, the other thing is we did see some light at the end of the tunnel at Bristol, both in qualifying and on the test day. What we really need to do is start building our momentum again. The interesting thing is the way the points are structured this year. We can't afford to slip for two or three more races, but we don't necessarily have to be the most dominant car in the next two or three. In fact, last year we didn't start coming on strong until the West Coast Swing (Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.). So, what you really want to do is be in the top 10 and have a strong car by Indy (the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend where the top-10 'grid' for the Countdown to One playoffs will be set).

"But I think all of our Valvoline/MTS guys are kind of thirsty for the winner's circle again," added Beckman who has four national-event wins to his credit since entering the Funny Car class beginning at the last five races of 2006. "At every race that is our goal. We need to qualify, we need to run well on Friday, and we need to regain our momentum."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jack Beckman